Shrines of the Pasión-Verapaz Region, Guatemala: Ritual and Exchange along an Ancient Trade Route
Woodfill, Brent Kerry Skoy
The Pasión-Verapaz Region is located at the highland-lowland transition in central Guatemala. It was the mid-point of the Great Western Trade Route, one of two principal arteries connecting the Maya highlands and lowlands. Research in three cave systems in the vicinity of Cancuen has revealed nearly 2,000 years of ritual activity, spanning the Preclassic and Classic periods of Maya civilization. This investigation is the first in much of this region, and allows for the creation of a preliminary sketch of the culture-history of northern Alta Verapaz and the southwestern Petén. The nature of ritual activity in these cave systems, most of which was performed by merchants and other travelers along the trade route, is also examined.